No wonder the “Gujarat club” draws comparisons with the “Kerala club”, when Kerala cadre babus held sway during the UPA regime!
The Centre has cleared Indian Council of Medical Relations (ICMR) chief Soumya Swaminathan to take up the assignment as director general for programmes of World Health Organisation (WHO) in Geneva. The decision was taken by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The committee also approved curtailment of the deputation tenure of Ms Swaminathan, who is also secretary, Department of Health Research. Ms Swaminathan's appointment as the deputy director-general for programmes was announced early last month by the WHO. The government now has to find a successor. Sources say it has set up a panel headed by Cabinet secretary P.K. Sinha to identify Ms Swaminathan's successor. The other members of the search committee include Mr P.K. Mishra, additional principal secretary to the Prime Minister, Prof P. Balaram, former director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, Mr T. Ramasami, former secretary, Department of Science And Technology and Mr P.N. Tandon, emeritus professor, neurosurgery, AIIMS.
J&K babus in a merry-go-round
Dilli is getting crowded with babus from the Jammu & Kashmir cadre. Barely three days after relieving Mr Dheeraj Gupta as principal secretary, Power Development Department, Jammu & Kashmir, Mr Sundeep K. Nayak, principal secretary in the Agriculture Production Department is headed for another Central deputation. Mr Nayak will be posted as managing director of the National Cooperative Development Corporation under the Union Ministry of Agriculture. Sources say that with his Central deputations, Mr Nayak has been literally shuttling between New Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir.
Meanwhile, Mr Gupta was abruptly removed as principal secretary PDD, relieved in J&K and posted as principal secretary (Coordination) in Resident Commission New Delhi, which is already packed with three senior IAS officers. Apparently, as many as 11 senior IAS officers of the J&K cadre are already on Central deputation. They include Mr B.R. Sharma, additional secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Mr Suresh Kumar, additional secretary, Ministry of Coal, Mr Sudhanshu Pandey, joint secretary, Department of Commerce, and Ms Mandeep Kaur, among others.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s preference for babus from his home state has inevitably created a “Gujarat club” in Delhi, an exclusive group of senior Gujarat cadre babus who enjoy the PM's confidence and have enviable access to the PMO. Sources say that there is soon going to be an addition to this club. Indications are that Mr Anil Mukim, additional chief secretary, Gujarat government, is going to be transferred to the Centre and is most likely to be given a high-profile position. If the rumours are true, Mr Mukim will follow in the footsteps of a string of Gujarat-cadre officers who have been accommodated in powerful posts in Delhi. He will join the likes of additional principal secretary to the PM P.K. Mishra, finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia, chief election commissioner A.K. Joti, CBI special director Rakesh Asthana, Commerce secretary Rita Teotia, Water Resources secretary Amarjit Singh, private secretary to the PM Rajiv Topno, OSD to the PM Sanjay Bhavsar and CBI joint director A.K. Sharma, who is in charge of the key Public Policy Division. No wonder the “Gujarat club” draws comparisons with the “Kerala club”, when Kerala cadre babus held sway during the UPA regime!